It’s not every day you sell a Merlin special edition machine (only 100 were made and this one was DHLed across and sold at full price) but then Bikelab isn’t a pegboard and braces kind of shop.
The new Poole bike shop is unashamedly upmarket, as befitting the aspirations of the former marketing coordinator for Cannondale UK/Scandinavia. Gosling opened the shop on Saturday, after months of design work and headaches.
Bikelab stocks Marin and Whyte, Scott, Tomac, Litespeed, and Intense. Its BMX bikes start at £129, adult bikes start at £199.
As well as being a BicycleBusiness columnist and an accredited sports commentator (as well as MTB racing he’s the commentator for the UK Supercross Championship), Gosling has worked "man and boy" in the cycle trade. Before Cannondale, he was a sales manager at Dawes. And prior to that he worked for ten years in the family owned bike shop, Edwards of Camberwell.
Gosling’s great grandfather opened this, the first of his many bike shops, in 1908. Edwards is a royal warrant holder as suppliers (of mopeds!) to Buckingham Palace.
The other members of the Bikelab team are Natasha Bradley, former brand manager for Animal, who worked on the Animal mountain bike team; and Andy Philips, "one of the best bicycle technicians in the country," boasts Gosling on the Bikelab website.
Gosling said he created Bikelab "from the basic need for a better specialist bike shop."
He doesn’t believe enough bike shops cut the mustard:
"Most bike shops can talk the talk but when it comes to action, they are simply unable to meet the needs of the average cyclist. Suspension set up, disc brakes tuning and wheel building are prime examples where the levels of technical competence (or incompetence) offered by most bike shops is simply unacceptable and in some cases, very dangerous."
Bikelab, on the other hand, is "the most technically advanced bicycle workshop in the UK, including special ‘clean’ areas for suspension and disc brake preparation and tuning," said Gosling.
The Bikelab website claims this is a British bike shop first:
"This tech area is set behind a glass partition so you can view the mechanics as they fettle. This environment is unique in bicycle retailing, where the workshop is usually the dirty space out the back. Today’s bikes need specialist tools, knowledge and environment to get the best performance and Bikelab is way ahead of the competition."